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Immunology ; 164(1): 135-147, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295026


Detecting antibody responses during and after SARS-CoV-2 infection is essential in determining the seroepidemiology of the virus and the potential role of antibody in disease. Scalable, sensitive and specific serological assays are essential to this process. The detection of antibody in hospitalized patients with severe disease has proven relatively straightforward; detecting responses in subjects with mild disease and asymptomatic infections has proven less reliable. We hypothesized that the suboptimal sensitivity of antibody assays and the compartmentalization of the antibody response may contribute to this effect. We systematically developed an ELISA, optimizing different antigens and amplification steps, in serum and saliva from non-hospitalized SARS-CoV-2-infected subjects. Using trimeric spike glycoprotein, rather than nucleocapsid, enabled detection of responses in individuals with low antibody responses. IgG1 and IgG3 predominate to both antigens, but more anti-spike IgG1 than IgG3 was detectable. All antigens were effective for detecting responses in hospitalized patients. Anti-spike IgG, IgA and IgM antibody responses were readily detectable in saliva from a minority of RT-PCR confirmed, non-hospitalized symptomatic individuals, and these were mostly subjects who had the highest levels of anti-spike serum antibodies. Therefore, detecting antibody responses in both saliva and serum can contribute to determining virus exposure and understanding immune responses after SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Humans , Saliva
Emerg Infect Dis ; 26(12): 2970-2973, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-792953


Dried blood spot (DBS) samples can be used for the detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 spike antibodies. DBS sampling is comparable to matched serum samples with a relative 98.1% sensitivity and 100% specificity. Thus, DBS sampling offers an alternative for population-wide serologic testing in the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19/diagnosis , Dried Blood Spot Testing/methods , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , Case-Control Studies , Dried Blood Spot Testing/economics , Humans , Predictive Value of Tests , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification
J Clin Virol ; 128: 104469, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-343387


BACKGROUND: In January 2020 reports of unidentified severe respiratory illness were described in Wuhan, China. A rapid expansion in cases affecting most countries around the globe led to major changes in the way people live their daily lives. In the United Kingdom, the Department of Health and Social Care directed healthcare providers to establish additional resources to manage the anticipated surge in cases that could overwhelm the health services. A priority area was testing for SARS-CoV-2 RNA and its detection by qualitative RT-PCR. DESIGN: A laboratory workflow twinning research environment with clinical laboratory capabilities was implemented and validated in the University of Birmingham within 4 days of the project initiation. The diagnostic capability was centred on an IVD CE-marked RT-PCR kit and designed to provide surge capacity to the nearby Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The service was initially tasked with testing healthcare workers (HCW) using throat swabs, and subsequently the process investigated the utility of using saliva as an alternative sample type. RESULTS: Between the 8th April 2020 and the 30th April 2020, the laboratory tested a total of 1282 HCW for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in throat swabs. RNA was detected in 54 % of those who reported symptoms compatible with COVID-19, but in only 4% who were asymptomatic. CONCLUSION: This capability was established rapidly and utilised a cold-chain free methodology, applicable to a wide range of settings, and which can provide surge capacity and support to clinical laboratories facing increasing pressure during periods of national crisis.

Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/blood , Betacoronavirus/genetics , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Saliva/virology , Surge Capacity , United Kingdom , Workflow